The students have learned what research is: goals, methods, novelty, quality, impact and dissemination. They have hands-on experience in doing research, where they learn how to formulate, test and evaluate scientific hypothesis and how to create new knowledge.
TECH Talents Research was targeted at students in their 1st or 2nd semester of an MSc programme. Hence, the duration was either 1.5 or 2 years so the last students will be ending the programme in the summer of 2021. An average grade of 10 was a prerequisite for application.
The objective of TECH Talents is to breed the new generation of researchers and developers from AAU. As such, it created an environment driven by high ambitions in which the students – individually or as part of a group - worked with topics that had research timeliness and relevance, as well as high chances to produce research results and outputs that could be presented in top conferences and journals.
The main objective was to learn what research is: goals, methods, novelty, quality, impact and dissemination. TECH Talents Research gave hands-on experience of doing research, how to formulate, test and evaluate scientific hypotheses and how they create a new knowledge. The students were part of a research environment in which they interacted with other researchers.
The output of a research project that spans one, maximum two, semesters was a research article. The research article did not necessarily needed to be accepted by the end of the semester/research project, but it needed to be at least submitted and, optionally, put on some of the open access databases, such as Arxiv. Interdisciplinarity was not a requirement, but the students should consider merging different disciplines in their project.
Two types of research projects are considered:
Proposed by your supervisor through which you become part of a research environment
You propose your own idea and look for a faculty member who will accept the role as your supervisor
The project could be run individually by a single student or in a group of two students. If a research project required more students and the students were willing to have a group of more than two, then a statement from the supervisor was needed. This could be the case regarding, for example, research projects based on elaborate experimental work.
The Faculty could offer direct economic support or, alternatively, guidance in how to apply for economic support that made it possible to cover some of the expenses related to attend a conference/workshop or publish an article.
PRELIMINARY PROGRAMME FOR THE RESEARCH TALENT
When the students participated in:
The objective was to introduce students to the research methodology. Ideally, they became part of their supervisor’s research team and were assigned a research task within an ongoing research effort. The task should be defined broadly enough to allow actual research contribution by the students, but the direction was steered in close collaboration with the supervisor. The research had to be summarised into a research paper delivered at the end of the semester, suitable at least for a conference/letter publication.
The students lifted their research to the next stage. In other words, they were expected to propose a research extension of the work done in the previous semester. Typically, if this work had been submitted to a conference or a letter, they made a journal extension. If the extension was methodologically different, another supervisor may become involved.
They were expected to carry out an extended master’s thesis. They proposed the research direction and refined it in collaboration with their team of supervisors.
RESEARCH SEMINAR ACTIVITIES
In TECH Talents Research a series of seminars and the like would support the students development over the course of the two years. These seminars were all one-day events organised for the entire group of Tech Talent REP students across the different master programmes.
EVALUATION OF THE LEARNING PROCESS
A formal evaluation of the learning process took place twice per semester. The first happened in the middle of the semester between the supervisor and the student, while at the end of the semester, evaluation was carried out by the student, the supervisor and one more person from AAU’s academic staff. The following points were evaluated, based on the current state of the project:
Goals: Are the research goals relevant? Reevaluation/changes to the original research goals and scope are possible based on the current status of the process.
Novelty and impact: How timely is the research problem? Has anything changed since the beginning of the project that would require redefinition of its scope and goals? Can the impact be improved by slightly redefining the scope/goals? This is normal in any research project.
Methods: Are the methods used the right ones and are there other methodologies/expertize that can be of help.
Quality: Is the process at an academic level that corresponds to high research requirements?
Dissemination: What is the publishability of the current work and what needs to be done to bring it to a solid scientific submission. The venues (workshops/conferences/journals) to submit the work should also be evaluated.
AFTER EACH SEMESTER, THERE WAS AN OPTION TO TAKE A STUDENT OUT OF THE TECH TALENTS PROGRAMME, IF HIS OR HER AVERAGE GRADE WAS BELOW 10 OR THERE IS A WELL-MOTIVATED STATEMENT FROM THE SUPERVISOR THAT STATED THAT THE STUDENT IN QUESTION WAS NOT QUALIFIED.